Sunday, June 13, 2010

Logo's Buffy Countdown

Disclaimer: Y'all are gonna have to be pretty big Buffy nerds to even make it through this post. Fairly warned be ye, says I.

So, if you were on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, you may have seen me freaking out over reacting to Logo's weekend-long countdown of their Top 30 "Buffy Fan Favorites." Buffy fans were invited to go to Logo's web page and vote on their most beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, and they got played out in order over the weekend.

And you guys? I don't use the word "whack" lightly, but if any list of best Buffy episodes could be called "whack," it's the following.

30. Buffy vs. Dracula
29. The Prom
28. Who Are You?
27. Graduation Day, Pt. Two
26. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
25. Primeval
24. Grave
23. Halloween
22. Surprise
21. Band Candy
20. Tabula Rasa
19. Touched
18. Innocence
17. Becoming, Pt. Two
16. Out Of My Mind
15. Doppelgangland
14. The Initiative
13. The Body
12. Gone
11. Intervention
10. The Gift
9. Beneath You
8. Crush
7. The Wish
6. Lovers Walk
5. Chosen
4. Fool For Love
3. Something Blue
2. Hush
1. Once More, With Feeling

I mean...where to begin? I mean..."Gone"? "The Initiative"? "Beneath You"? Buffy was the one show I ever full-on nerded out for, so I know what I'm talking about when I say this list is sketch. It makes sense, when you add up all the odd-looking inclusions: "Crush," "Fool for Love," "Something Blue," "Intervention," "Out of My Mind," "Beneath You," "Grave" -- all these episodes are either explicitly Spike-centered or are major signposts on the road to Buffy+Spike schmoopiness. Which...whatever, you like what you like about the show, but a) that Spuffy crap was a real drag on the show in its later seasons, and b) when an episode like "Gone" gets cited as one of the best episodes of the series seemingly only because Spike has a shockingly revealing sex scene with an invisible Buffy, it's pretty obvious that shippers are afoot.

The other thing is, I feel like I dropped the ball. I wanted to post about this countdown a week or two ago, while voting was still going on, to talk about favorite episodes and send readers over there to vote. Did we allow this Spuffy violence to be perpetrated on our show? Frankly, yes. We did. So I did what I always do in times of mental consternation: I made a list. I want you guys to make lists too. Post your own lists of favorite Buffy episodes -- in the comments here, or on your own blogs (just throw a link to it here), or whatever. I'll roll out my own choices over the week. We can tally up at the end of the week and see if we did a better job than the Logo Spuffy freaks. (Hint: we can.)


Jessica said...

I had to break up with it and (gasp) stop watching TV.

Kirk Hamilton said...

Wow. I love "Hush" and "Once More" but I really have to take issue with putting "The Body" and "Becoming pt. 2" outside the top ten, and "Graduation Day" so far back, too... At least they put "The Prom" in the... wait it's NUMBER TWENTY NINE? I need Buffy's umbrella because it is RAINING BULLSHIT.

Such a clear preference for tricksy episodes over emotional ones. I hope it's not a sign that Buffy is starting to be remembered more as a wacky show than as an occasionally heartbreaking one.

Anonymous said...

This list does not contain "Restless." That should say it all.

NoNo said...

Oh, those Spuffy fans. Beneath You snf Touched? That wouldn't even make my list. I think that while Season 4 might have been the weakest season storyline wise, it had some of the best individual episodes.

My Top Ten:
1. Hush
2. The Body
3. Becoming Part 2
4. Innocence
5. The Gift
6. Normal Again
7. Who Are You?
8. Once More With Feeling
9. Graduation Day Part 2
10.Conversations With Dead People

Underrated: Earshot, Intervention, Bargaining Parts 1&2, Entropy, Wild at Heart, Hells Bells

Stephanie said...

Becoming Pt. 2 not being in the Top 10 should automatically invalidate this list. Ridiculous!

Jon said...

Joe, I was just equally as irked as you were. Here's my Top Ten:

1. Once More, With Feeling
2. The Body
3. Dopplegangland
4. Hush
5. Becoming, Pt. 2
6. I Only Have Eyes For You
7. Who Are You?
8. The Gift
9. Conversations With Dead People
10. Superstar

Kari said...

How can we forget about Earshot? Just the ending with Buffy confronting Giles about his not so watcherish ongoings with her mother (that took place in Band Candy) makes it my number 1 episode ever!

Harleypeyton said...

Hush and Once More are a little overrated. And nothing shows how Spikey the list is more than the omission of Amends. C'mon. Angel broods! A snowy Christmas in Sunnydale!

Classic. And not even in the top 30?

Agnes B said...

My top 10 in no particular order: Earshot, Once More with Feeling, Hush, Innocence, The Zeppo, Graduation Day (Parts 1&2), Pangs, Superstar, The Body, and The Gift.

Anonymous said...

I actually love "Something Blue," even with the Spuffiness. And I love a lot of "The Initiative," for my own weird reasons.

My top 10:
1. "Doppelgangland"
2. "Once More, With Feeling"
3. "The Body"
4. "Hush"
5. "Becoming, Part 2"
6. "Earshot"
7. "Passion"
8. "Restless"
9. "Graduation Day, Part 2"
10. "The Prom"

If I did a top 10, I'd add "Gingerbread," "Band Candy," "Innocence," "Phases," "Fear, Itself," "Choices," "Enemies," "The Gift," "Tabula Rasa," and "Conversations with Dead People."

Anonymous said...

I agree, some of these episodes were definitely NOT worthy of the top 30 episodes...

1. Once More, With Feeling s6e7
2. Chosen s7e22
3. Tabula Rasa s6e8
4. Grave s6e22
5. Hush s4e10
6. Band Candy s3e6
7. Wrecked s6e10
8. Earshot s3e18
9. The Prom s3e20
10. Lessons s7e1
11. Graduation Day (2) s3e22
12. Helpless s3e12
13. Passion s2e17
14. The Wish s3e9
15. Something Blue s4e9
16. Halloween s2e6
17. The Body s5e16
18. Forever s5e17
19. Primeval (2) s4e21
20. Conversations With Dead People s737
21. Prophecy Girl s1e12
22. The Dark Age s2e8
23. Dopplegangland s3e16
24. Gingerbread s3e11
25. Amends s3e10
26. Lies My Parents Told Me s7317
27. Normal Again s6e17
28. Hell’s Bells s6e16
29. Storyteller s7e16
30. Fear Itself s434

Tasha said...

Thank you for posting the list and also voicing the very same concerns I had. I mean, I know the list of Buffy episode titles really, really well and the fact that I had to look up a Top 3 pick (Something Blue) is just horrifying.

10. Earshot
9. Halloween
8. Fool for Love
7. Angel
6. Amends
5. Graduation, Part II
4. Once More, with Feeling
3. Chosen
2. Becoming, Part II
1. Hush

Anonymous said...

1. Becoming Pt. 2 (I was pretty pissed when I saw it so low also)
2. The Gift
3. Chosen
4. The Body
5. Storyteller
6. Prophecy Girl
7. Innocence
8. I Only Have Eyes for You
9. Band Candy
10. Hush
11. Bad Girls
12. Fool For Love (I actually do like Spike's origin story)
13. Beneath You (most of the episode is stupid except for the last 5 minutes with Spike talking about his soul and laying himself on that cross)
14. Dopplegangland
15. Once more With Feeling (I really like it)
16. Villians

I agree with some of the Spike episodes included on Logo's list, but there were too many of them and the ones with Riley from Season 4 have absolutely no reason at all to be on the list.

Kirk Hamilton said...

So a list is gonna take some doing, but in the meantime I thought I'd share one my of all-time favorite scenes from the show.

Anonymous said...

Kirk, I named my website after that scene.

Anonymous said...

Favorite episodes that weren't in the top 30: "Earshot", "Checkpoint", "I Only Have Eyes for You", "Normal Again", "Conversations w/ Dead People", "Passion", "Phases", "Restless", "Amends", "Pangs", "Lies My Parents Told Me", "This Year's Girl", "Storyteller". "Graduation Day", "The Prom", "Becoming" and "The Body" all should've been much higher up on the list. I don't get some of the eps that made it into the top 30, while so many great ones were ignored. It did occur to me that most of the people who voted must be big Spike fans.

Kirk Hamilton said...

Jenn, you are a legend.

fortunefavorsthebrave said...

20. Doublemeat Palace
19. Band Candy
18. Dirty Girls
17. Becoming, Part 2
16. Beer Bad
15. The Initiative
14. Wild At Heart
13. This Year's Girl
12. Who Are You?
11. Primeval
10. Restless
9. Family
8. Tough Love
7. The Gift
6. Seeing Red
5. Two to Go
4. Grave
3. Once More With Feeling
2. Hush
1. Chosen

Dover said...

Agree with Jenn, first of all. Restless was my number one, but kinda figured Once More would take it, and it's my second fav, so I am appeased. I actually love Gone, one of the funniest eps of all; gave me some great ideas should I ever become blinvisible.

Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction to the list. Bleh. Anyway, I actually did vote, and my top ten were (in no order): "Hush", "Graduation Day, Pt. 2", "Becoming, Pt. 2", "Innocence", "Helpless", "The Wish", "The Body", "The Gift", "Prophecy Girl", and yeah, "Once More with Feeling".

"Prophecy Girl" gets in because it was the moment I really got hooked, a very specific moment: "The signs?! Read me the signs! Tell me my fortune!" Oh, SMG. When you were great, you were great.

Joe Reid said...

Loving these responses, guys! Obviously, chime in however you want, but know that ranking the eps will help me tally this uber-list at the end of the week.

Laika said...

1) Restless
2) Hush
3) The Body
4) Graduation Day - 1
5) Doppelgangland
6) Earshot
7) Passion
8) Once More with Feeling
9) Conversations with Dead People

just missing out - 'Prophecy Girl', 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered', 'Becoming - 1', 'Lovers Walk', 'The Wish', 'The Freshman', 'Who Are You?', 'Real Me', 'Storyteller', 'Dirty Girls'.

Anonymous said...

Okey-doke, then, Mr. Reid, here's a ranked list, though I know it wouldn't be the same tomorrow--but even these ten episodes wouldn't be the same ten, so:

10. "Prophecy Girl"
9. "Once More with Feeling"
8. "The Wish"
7. "Helpless"
6. "The Gift"
5. "Graduation Day, Pt. 2"
4. "Innocence"
3. "Hush",
2. "The Body"
1. "Becoming, Pt. 2"

Honorable mentions to the first parts of the two-parters, to "What's My Line?", both parts, "Fool for Love", "Band Candy", "Doppelgangland", "The Prom", "Conversations with Dead People", "Who Are You?", and "Passion".

cayenne said...

I almost broke up with BTVS over the Spuffy thing, so to see it so heavily represented on the list is to gag. Here's my top 15 (couldn't narrow it down - one of the many reasons I'm not a TV critic):

1) Hush
2) The Body
3) Becoming Pt 2
4) Innocence
5) Graduation Day Pt 2
6) Passion
7) The Gift
8) Doppelgangland
9) Band Candy
10) Who Are You
11) Chosen
12) Two to Go
13) Primeval
14) Prophecy Girl
15) Earshot

Most 2- or 3-parters include their other parts kind of by default, but the one listed is my preferred single.

Honorable mention to Something Blue for "Spike lips! Lips of Spike!", Pangs for "You made a bear!", Restless for the Cheese Man, and Checkpoint for the excellent sword scene.

I have to admit - actually, it's probably damn obvious from its absence - that I do not like OMWF. While the concept was interesting & the plot was OK, show tunes give me hives.

And Hush is on tonight on MuchMusic. Must rush home from work.

cayenne said...

Oh, and props to Doomed for the sheer density of quotable lines.


oy. that list horrifies.

and where is Bad Girls? This list doesn't have enough Faith.

Joe Reid said...

Help us fix it, Nat! This is prime blog fodder for TFE...

Rachel said...

This is the top 10 I wrote right after the series ended (literally - I think it was that same night).

10. "Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest" -- not many series openers actually manage to give all the exposition, capture the feel of the series, *and* be entertaining in their own right. Although I really wish that they could have afforded to keep Xander on that skateboard.
9. "School Hard" -- once upon I time, I loved Spike.
8. "Band Candy" -- because who can resist Ripper?
7. "Graduation Day Pt. 2" -- Buffy saves the day with a little help from the entire school. Like Oz says, "...we survived...not the battle, high school".
6. "Doppelgangland" -- like half the fans, I totally identify with early Willow (the other half are Xander), and her big speech at the beginning basically is me. And sexy Evil Willow!
5. "The Zeppo" -- I love Xander, and this episode was his big moment.
4. "Restless" -- every time some new plot point happened, I had to run back and see if it had been hinted at here. And Willow's dream is priceless.
3. "The Wish" -- more Evil Willow!
2. "Hush" -- utterly brilliant, creepy and funny, it contained all the elements that made the show original and wonderful. Plus it's probably the episode that I've seen the most, other than...
1. "Once More, With Feeling" -- I'm a huge fan of musicals, so I was excited and scared when I first heard this was happening. What a payoff. Joss obviously loves the genre himself, and managed to create a stand-alone episode that actually moved the plot along in very important ways. Plus the songs kind of pretty much rock.

Gwen said...

10. Normal Again
9. The Wish
8. Passion
7. Becoming
6. Graduation Day
5. Selfless
4. The Gift
3. The Body
2. Once More, With Feeling
1. Hush

My top 10 changes a lot, but that's my current list.

Melissa said...

This bullshitty list is so upsetting I can't even come up with my own list right now! But I will tell you that when I do it will consist of mostly season 2 and 3 episodes. I hope that someone who never watched this show doesn't stumble upon this list and think it represents the show at its best. GROSS.

Meagan said...

30. Conversations with Dead People
29. Pangs
28. Doublemeat Palace
27. The Wish
26. Who Are You
25. When She Was Bad
24. Wrecked
23. Enemies
22. Villians
21. Two to Go
20. Grave
19. Lies My Parents Told Me
18. Normal Again
17. The Prom
16. The Harvest
15. Welcome to the Hellmouth
14. Innocence
13. Storyteller
12. Forever
11. Lie to Me
10. Restless
- Graduation Day: Part 1/Part 2
8. Graduation Day: Part 1/Part 2
7. Hush
6. The Gift
- Becoming: Part 1/Part 2
4. Becoming: Part 1/Part 2
3. Once More, with Feeling
2. Prophecy Girl
1. The Body

Anonymous said...

My top ten:
1.) The Gift
2.) The Body
3.) Becoming Part Two
4.) Coversations with Dead People
5.) Once More with Feeling
6.) Hush
7.) Lies My Parents Told Me
8.) Fool for Love
9.) Chosen
10.) Passions

Dale said...

I don't have the heart or the time to decide an order for these, but:
Once More With Feeling
The Body
Band Candy
Graduation Day
Prophecy Girl
The Wish

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Well that was a nice way to spend a day on my employer's dime. Thanks, Joe!

Jessica said...

I didn't include my list on that post, so here's my top 10 (with 3 personal honorable mentions):
1. The Body
2. Surprise/Innocence
3. Once More With Feeling
4. Hush
5. Graduation Day 1&2
6. The Prom
7. Band Candy
8. The Zeppo
9. The Wish
10. Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest
HMs: School Hard, Pangs, Storyteller (SH because it's awesome, Pangs for the "you made a bear!", Storyteller for "we are as Gods!")

Anonymous said...

All of your comments make me feel the opposite of lonely.
1.) the body
2.) once more, with feeling
3.) hush
4.) earshot
5.) normal again
6.) becoming
7.) doublemeat palace
8.) beer bad
9.) restless
10.) doppelgangland
11.) the prom
12.) life serial
13.) tabula rasa
14.) the gift
15.) villains
16.) innocence
17.) storyteller
18.) chosen
19.) halloween
20.) living conditions

Friend Mouse said...

1. The Body
2. Once More with Feeling
3. Becoming Part 2
4. Superstar (new credits!)
5. Graduation Day 1 and 2
6. Hush
17. Who Are You?
8. Restless
9. The Gift
10. Halloween (for Ghost Willow and super-sarcastic Cordelia)
11. Band Candy
12. The Wish (I love alt-worlds)
13. Earshot
14. Dopplegangland
15. Beer Bad. (I know everyone hates it, but Cro-Magnon Buffy's response of "Foamy" to Xander's "And what did we learn about beer?" just cracks me up every time. Plus, c'mon - magic beer!)

MattPatt said...

You know, the more I look at this, the more it pisses me off. In particular... I lost a parent in a manner tragically similar to the scenario portrayed in "The Body." To this day I can't watch that episode again -- because it's so *good*, and all the emotional beats ring so damn *true*, that it's still too much for me to process. But that's why it's *art,* and to tell me that it gets edged out by an episode featuring naked "push-ups"... it's like a shot to the heart. "The Body" is one of the truest things that's ever been on TV, no matter how heart-breaking it is.

ANYWAY. Long-winded exposition aside, here's a personal top 10, although of course this is by no means set in stone:

1) The Body
2) Once More, With Feeling
3) Hush
4) Selfless
5) Conversations With Dead People
6) The Wish
7) Earshot
8) Becoming, Part 2
9) Passion
10) Restless

I regret that there's not more Faith in here (or, actually, any Faith at all), but the problem with that wonderful storytelling of season 3 is that it's very hard to consider any of those arc-y episodes in isolation from each other.

Tom said...


15) Graduation Day
14) Wild At Heart
13) Entropy
12) After Life
11) Villains
10) Prophecy Girl
9) Fool For Love
8) Hell’s Bells
7) Normal Again
6) Selfless
5) Doppelgangland
4) Innocence
3) Passion
2) Becoming
1) The Body

I made a full post here.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what a drag that other people enjoyed different aspects of the show than you did.

Must be horrible to have to share a fandom *rollseyes*

Joe Reid said...


Melissa said...

GAH! I keep changing my mind, but here it is before I change it again:

1. Becoming: Part 2
2. The Body
3. Hush
4. Once More, with Feeling
5. Passion
6. The Prom
7. Graduation Day: Part 2
8. Innocence
9. Prophecy Girl
10. The Wish
11. Bad Girls
12. The Gift
13. Selfless
14. Helpless
15. What’s My Line: Part 2

Christy in Seattle said...

I don't know. I find it hard to be too fussed about their list. At least they're running "Buffy" in syndication again.

I, for one, loved the Buffy-Spike arc. Season six annoyed me in some ways (and then they brought Andrew back for Season 7??? ugh!) but it was necessary and appropriate for Buffy's character arc, for her "hero's return" in the Campellian sense.

Plus, James Marsters has some serious acting chops.

Jamie said...

Thank you for this. I was so annoyed watching the countdown, were they going backwards? were people voting ironically? maybe voting for the episodes they don't remember very well so they can rewatch?

I voted on Logo and made a list of predictions, and with each revelation I had to consult my list and decide what to delete? I mean, Beneath You? I wouldn't have been able to provide a summary for that one.

For what it's worth, here's the list I started with (note: I am a fan of neither Spike nor Angel, so I didn't go heavy on the relationship ones, and I am a big fan of two-parters, so I had to keep the Part 1s if I had the Part 2s):

The Gift
The Body
Prophecy Girl
Becoming 2
Graduation Day 2
School Hard
Conversations with Dead People
Once More With Feeling
What’s My Line 2
Band Candy
Who Are You?
Normal Again
Fear, Itself
Lie to Me
Tabula Rasa
The Yoko Factor
Something Blue
Becoming 1
What’s My Line 1
Graduation Day 1
The Replacement

Jamie said...

I posted my list before reading others so I wouldn't taint my decision, and I wanted to echo MattPatt's comment. I'll probably never watch that episode again because it's just too real now. And while I love the comedy episodes as much as the next person, they don't work without the vein of emotion that runs through the whole series. UGH, I'm getting annoyed all over again.

Alex said...

Thanks for point out the whole shipper thing. I could not figure out how the hell they came up with the choices they did.

I'm actually really disappointed that this happened. In addition to this list just being wrong (The Initiative? Really? It was needed to move the S4 mytharc, but that was the worst mytharc in the series, IMHO), it sells short some of the themes and motifs that led to the show having such a dedicated gay fanbase. Considering the countdown was on Logo, this is especially disappointing.

Totally neglected is being a slayer as allegory for being gay (secret about yourself that you discover in high school, tell your close friends and maybe the quiet librarian). Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Becoming, Part 2, when Buffy "comes out" to her mom. That it was only number 17 (and that was probably because Buffy teams up with Spike for the first time) is disappointing. So is the fact that a lot of other episodes that touch more on this (Welcome to Hellmouth, Prophecy Girl, What's My Line P1/2, Faith Hope and Trick, etc.) were not even on this list.

Another motif that tends to resonate with the Logo set is one that appears throughout Joss's work is the idea that your true family are the people around you who support you unconditionally, regardless of blood. Yet none of the episodes dealing with family or cohesion within the Scooby Gang made the list (Family, The Zeppo, Choices, Nightmares, etc).

Finally, some stuff on the list is just off. Anyone, even someone not remotely interest in the genre elements of the series can appreciate the fact that The Body is an piece of television. That it fell outside the Top 10 shows that the list is deeply flawed.

So, I've probably gone on too long, but here's my list:

10. Help
9. Gingerbread
8. Choices
7. Doppelgangland
6. Something Blue
5. Becoming Pt. 2
4. The Body
3. I Only Have Eyes for You
2. Hush
1. Once More, with Feeling

Other favorites: The Pack, Prophecy Girl, Halloween, Lie to Me, The Wish, Innocence, Passion, Killed by Death, Graduation Day P1&2, Family, Fool for Love, Triangle, Tabula Rasa, Hell's Bells, Normal Again, Selfless, Him, Conversations with Dead People.